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Here is one mom that cheers and hollers everytime I get hand-me-downs!

I am not one to let a bin of old clothes pass by. I just keep on passing them down to friends and family with younger children. Because, really…how long do children actually wear the clothes before they grow out of them? And I can figure out a lot more things to spend my money on. We are blessed. Our closets are abundant.

The notion of hand-me-downs is even more prevalent with the first snow fall. In fact, we have too many options at this point. I get particular pleasure out of nothing matching too. Anyway, it is time for me to pass along some of the wealth that has been handed down. Anyone need a pair of snowpants?

Even though it was short-lived the kids had a great time playing in the snow this weekend. It makes me happy that we live somewhere we can enjoy all four seasons and then excitement each brings.

fourteen years

FOURTEEN YEARS. A fabulous wedding in Chicago. A surprise Tango. Relaxing honeymoon in Aruba and Curacao. Lots of Cuban cigars. Scooter for TWO. Wow…Tiffany has a SISTER! Lots of friends getting married. Coast-to-coast travel through the week with Andersen Consulting. Valentine’s in Montreal. FOURTEEN YEARS. Swimming with dolphins in the Gulf. Surrogate mother, Ann Sedita, passes away unexpectantly. Relocation to Alabama. Age waiver to attend Flight School. Dad gets a patent on a kite system…Cloud Catcher Kites. Blissful month in Italy and Greece. B&B in Amish country. College roommate trip to Northern Michigan. Christmas in Puerto Vallarta. Business trip to Bermuda. How about that gig? Built our first piece of furniture together. Bought our first car. FOURTEEN YEARS. Got knocked up in New Orleans. Ten-year high school reunion. Moved to Indy and bought our first home. Lost our niece, Lindsey, after a tragic accident. Beloved Aunt LouAnn loses her battle with brain cancer. College roommate vacation to Tucson. Ran the mini-marathon together. FOURTEEN YEARS. Millenium Bash. Learn to paint. Tim transitions from Andersen to marchFirst. Briggs Alexander was born. Realized we both have varied opinions on how to handle a baby. Time for a second car. FOURTEEN YEARS. Adopt a part-time work schedule. Start a dinner club. Las Vegas Venetian-style. Travel across the country to Kuaui with Briggs. Business in London. Blackhawk transition school. Learning about landscaping and home maintenance. FOURTEEN YEARS. Tiffany’s father in another bicycle accident leaving him with his second major head trauma. Month in Chicago. Grandma Lena passes away. Hosted lots and lots of visitors. More Christmases in Chagrin Falls. Nathan relocated to Indy. We have a roommate. September 11th…we will never forget. FOURTEEN YEARS. Tim awarded Meritorious Service Medal. Ely, Minnesota for family vacation. Nestled into the Gaige House Inn in Sonoma Valley. Wine. Briggs was ring bearer in Betsy’s wedding. Ball State Homecoming. First cruise to Key West and Cozumel with friends. Three-day, 60-mile walk for Breast Cancer. Helena moves to Indy. FOURTEEN YEARS. Tim takes command of Blackhawk unit. Mark and Terry finally married! Nate and Helena engaged! Tim’s college roommate, Mike Troyer, dies suddenly. Unbelievable. Launch Nathaniel Edmunds Photography. First miscarriage. FOURTEEN YEARS. Pending deployment to Bosnia. Shooting up with hormones multiple times daily. Off to the land of Disney. Visit Stacy in San Francisco. Swimming with sting rays in Grand Cayman. Miscarriage #2. More hormones, IVF treatments, and pure joy while my body gets poked and prodded on a daily basis. FOURTEEN YEARS. Confident we will be parents again just taking a LONG time. Puerto Vallarta with parents. Throw a shoe across the kitchen…can you say hormone surge? Getaway weekend with Mark and Terry to Whitestone B&B. FOURTEEN YEARS. WOW…pregnant. Travel to Sweden for Nate and Helena’s amazing, incredible wedding. Gage DeWitt is born. Amazingly blessed. Soccer. Mom and Bill move to Indianapolis. Dad moves to Indianapolis. Seeing a trend here. Pant our house. FOURTEEN YEARS. Kindergarten. Tim’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She moves in for treatment in Indy. Finish basement. Woah…Mom turns 60! Holy crap…pregnant with twin girls. Phyllis loses her battle with cancer after it spreads to her brain. Wow…Nate and Helena are pregnant too! Emerson Adelaide and Campbell Sinclair are born. We are done. Sleep deprived. FOURTEEN YEARS. Elin is born! Grandpa Gordon turns 90. Start to prepare for pending deployment with a lot of Army training. Baptized as a family. ‘Letters from Tim’ blog…the start of something that will forever have an enormous impact on our lives. Year+ deployment to Iraq. Flag football. Overwhelmed by neighbors, community and family support. NYC with just Briggs. Striving for peace in the household. Great Wolfe Lodge. Our travel has changed. FOURTEEN YEARS. MAJOR Stoner. Best joke around. Safe return with all soldiers unharmed. Threw the stats out the window. Tim awarded Bronze Star. Great runs along the coast in Maui. Reintegrating as a family. Not easy. Trip to the East Coast interrupted suddenly by the tragic death of Aunt Nine. Will never forget her. FOURTEEN YEARS. Move Grandpa Gordon to Indianapolis. Here four months and then passes. Devastated. Puerto Vallarta with the whole crew. Stacy’s Friendship Ball. Gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, Soccer, etc. Axel is born! FOURTEEN YEARS. Tim named IBJ’s Forty Under Forty. Extended family trip to Tennessee. Tim’s best friend, Joel Peigh, loses his short battle with cancer. Tim is FORTY! Best trip ever to Napa Valley. FOURTEEN YEARS. Montessori. Twenty-year high school reunion. We are the Stoner Six. Publish FamilyPrint. Decide to start a nonprofit of the same name. Need to give back. Mickey Mouse Land with our clan. New role for Tim at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Motorcycle accident. Completely living the dream. FOURTEEN YEARS.

motorcycle accident

We are considering ourselves blessed after a terrible motorcycle accident Tim had on Saturday night.

According to the riders he was with, they were expecting to find him dead after witnessing the accident.  According to the doctors, they rarely see cyclists walk away with only a few broken bones, no head injury, and no road rash.  While he was not wearing his helmet (he has been counseled by nearly everyone), the remainder of his body was well protected.  Broken bones will heal.

It isn’t the only time we have found ourselves grateful for Tim’s military training.  For three weeks in Airborne School, he was trained on how to fall from a variety of positions and heights while causing the least bodily injury as possible.

Perhaps some of the training saved his life.  Perhaps he has nine lives, as many have indicated.  Perhaps he has strong guardian angels.  Perhaps he was just lucky. Perhaps he has a greater purpose.

Whatever the reason, we are glad he is still able to sit at the dinner table for our nightly ritual of happy-mad-sad. You can guess with certainty what the kids cited as their ‘happy.’

There has been a lot of discussion about Tim’s accident amongst the kids this week.  My favorite conversation between Campbell and Gage was the following on the way to school…

“I know why the doctors had to keep asking Daddy the same questions in the hospital.  To make sure his head wasn’t juggled,” explained Gage.

“You mean his brain scrambled,” exclaimed, always loudly, Campbell.

The term FamilyPrint becomes ever more real to us this week.  As we have described time and time again, like a fingerprint, no family is alike.  No family is ever the same with one member missing.

We deeply appreciate the support, kinds words, and prayers that everyone has generously given.

I had been preparing to write a post last night about ‘the art of a thank you’ but I lost my inspiration as midnight drew near. I promised I would follow up on the thought this morning.

I realize that I shouldn’t give with expectations. But I like to be real on this blog.  And honestly, it is genuinely nice to receive an acknowledgement that a gift is appreciated. My mom made me write thank you notes to my relatives even when I didn’t want to. I guess it stuck.  As I recall, this is referred to as proper etiquette.

Getting handwritten notes in the mail is rare. But a formal thank you note is a lost and forgotten virtue that few people follow.  It is a travesty.  Because I think at the heart of it, it makes us selfish, and not mindful of the generous acts of others.

Life suprises me sometimes though, and I don’t believe in coincidences.

Tucked nicely into my mailbox this afternoon was a beautifull written thank you from my inspiring and eclectic neice. I adore her. And, I adored reading her thank you note that began with “Yours is a generous spirit. Mine is a grateful heart.”

Like most thank you notes…it probably took just a few minutes to write, address, and stamp.  But the thought will remain with me for much longer. 

I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year so here it is…I am going to remember to send thank you notes for even the smallest gestures.

writing in the rain

My first attempt at a blog post from my iPhone caught in the middle of a downpour at the soccer fields!  There are likely better ways to spend a Sunsay but… 

I wonder if the kids view of Heaven is true. Campbell claims you never need to turn out the lights in Heaven. Gage states you cannot break your leg and streets are made of gold. Emerson believes you can eat candy all day but never get a tummy ache. 

Going with the same idealistic beliefs…I am thinking there are probably no need for umbrellas to protect you from grey skies and pelting, cold rain. However, I know this drizzle will soon bring the beautiful green Indiana landscape I treasure so much. 

My first letter to the Editor of the newspaper…

I recently discovered I have a lot of opinions, especially as I grow older and experience more. Strangely enough, I have never felt compelled to write to the editor of my newspaper.

However, after witnessing NoName Elementary’s Reading Overnight Program, I cannot help but to applaud our community. It deserves national recognition, as far as I am concerned.

I am a proud resident of Zionsville. I have been the receiver of such amazing support from neighbors but this event made it clear to me that we undoubtedly selected the best place to grow roots for our family.

Apparently, Reading Overnight is a remnant of the ‘old’ NoName Elementary School. Whoever decided to maintain the tradition at the ‘new’ NoName Elementary…BRAVO!

From what I understand, it is held every four years so a child is guaranteed to participate at least once during their elementary ‘career.’ It began as an event where the kids slept overnight in the gym with their sleeping bags and read books.

While there was not much reading at the event, it has definitely progressed from its beginning.

At the outset of the school year, the children have been working toward accumulating enough independent reading hours to attend the event. In fact, if a child was lagging in recorded minutes, there were volunteer parents to help read with them during recess! Unbelievable…the commitment some people have in making sure that no child is left behind.

So on Friday, March 12th, the NoName Elementary PTO literally transformed the school into an Around-The-Globe extravaganza. The parent volunteers had two hours to get the decor in place before the children arrived back at school. It was mind boggling the precision that followed.

After registration and a ‘pump you up’ speech the tour guides started the magic of guiding the children off to distant lands.

As they visited the Antarctica there was an igloo (made out of milk cartons) that the children had to crawl through, life-sized elephants as they entered into Africa, a pyramid that signified the entrance to Egypt that followed with an archaeological dig, the Eiffel Tower and a short French lesson, gondolas with store fronts decorated with flower boxes, Buckingham Palace swanked by real armor and the ‘Queen of England’ explaining the difference between some of our English terminology, a craft that involved created a tribal head mask, lessons on African tribal dancing, fun games in Hawaii and Australia which included riding on jet skis and rocking kayaks…and the experiences go on and on.

Each child had a passport (only security at the airport would know they were fake) with their school picture in it. At each country, you could see the pride building in their faces as their passports were stamped.

As a child, I do not recall anything reaching close to this magnitude. We just looked forward to the Ice Cream Social the week before school started to meet our new teacher. I certainly do not recall parents being as integrated into our school environment as they are in Zionsville.

Now one could argue that the money spent on the event could have been put toward programs that the school is having to cut. However, I guarantee there is not a child in the student body that will forget their experience. I hope that it manifests itself into every child having a desire to see the world, to study about different cultures, and to understand that while there is nothing better than home, there is much to be learned outside of it.

Tiffany Stoner
Mother of Four


Written by my cousin, Hattie (6th Grade)

As former president George Bush said, “they share a common love for our great nation; a love great enough to put their very lives on the line, if need be, to guarantee the way of life we enjoy today, and to secure that way of life for tomorrow’s generations.” 

What is a label?  People are consistently categorized based on labels.  Many people are labeled an athlete, a politician, a student, a mother, doctor, dancer, or friend.  But there is no more distinct or prouder label to be identified by then being known as a veteran.

The colors of the flag have a special meaning. So does the word “veteran”.  It is a word that has to be earned by those individuals that sacrificed their lives for us.  Just like the colors of the flag where red is for valor and zeal – white is for hope, purity, and cleanliness of life – and blue, the color of heaven, loyalty, sincerity, justice, and truth- each of these descriptions also accurately portray the integrity of a veteran.

Veterans are people who gave up much to keep us safe.  Veterans have served in the military (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) in times of war or peace. On Veterans Day we thank and honor those who defended democracy for the good of all.

Veterans Day is observed on November 11th of each year. This day used to be called Armistice Day to honor those that served overseas, but now as Veteran’s Day it includes all the men and women who served, at anytime and anywhere. 

A veteran may be male or female, young or old.  They may be a doctor, lawyer or sanitation worker.  They may differ by race or by national origin, but despite all their differences they do share one common thing, patriotism. 

It makes me proud knowing my Grandfather was in World War II, my Uncle fought in Vietnam as a pilot on a C-47, and my cousin was deployed and sent to Iraq to be a Commander and pilot of a MEDEVAC helicopter unit.  I can feel grateful and honored and to think of our veterans.

So on behalf of a grateful nation, I thank our veterans for your service, for your commitment. It is because of your sacrifices, hard work, and dedication and integrity that make us such an amazing country- one that I am proud to be labeled.

3/50 project

I am grateful to live in a small town.  I especially like to support the local stores in order to keep our village quaint and worthy of visitors.  I picked up a flyer from the 3/50 project this week.  I just wanted to share it so perhaps others would support their local mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, etc.

3 – Think about which three indepently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone.  Stop in and say hello.  Pick up a little something that will make someone smile.  Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around. 

50 – If just half the employed US population spend $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $2.6 billion in revenue.  Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that. 

68 – For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payrool, and other expenditures.  If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here.  Spend it online and nothing comes.

1- The number of people it takes to start the trend.


living in the now

After a brief conversation with my friend Kathy on Saturday night, I put the notion of living in the now in my brain to stir.  She is like a mini-buddha, consistently challenging my inner peace.  She also happens to be a mother of four rambunctious children.  Thank goodness there are more of us out there!


Sad to admit, I realized I am not a person that ‘lives in the now’ successfully.  Honestly, I don’t think I have ever given it much thought! 

With deadlines and milestones to meet, with clients to please, it is difficult to focus on today.  My life is admittedly filled with tasks and to do lists.  And my list never gets fully completed at the conclusion of a day.  I often lie awake at night consciously churning over what I need to accomplish the next day. 

But I kept thinking about how trying to live in the now could significantly change my life and my family.  If my Aunt Nine (or for anyone that unfortunately dies suddenly) would have had the foresight of her death, would she have made different decisions day-to-day?

On Sunday, I focused on just enjoying the day with whatever came along.  We had a wonderful invitation from our friend Jessica to attend a party in the country.  It was one of those days that brings out my famous quote, “I love Indiana!”

This wasn’t just any simple party in the country…it was an all-out festival.  The kids were treated to a watermelon-eating contest, a bounce house, pony rides, balloon tosses, face painting, carnival games, fishing, paddles boats, a splash house, cotton candy, cupcake decorating, and pinatas.  Gage managed to catch three Blue Gill.  And, Emerson indulged in playing with the night crawlers.  The girl isn’t afraid of creep crawly things in the least!

We thorougly enjoyed ourselves.  It was a mixture of peace and pleasure looking across the meadow watching horses graze and cat tails blowing in the breeze. 

Who knows if I am capable of  ‘living in the now’ but I am going to make a go of it.  I think I deserve it.  But I know my family deserves it.

being a mom

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Elizabeth Stone


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